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  Pheochromocytoma Support Group


First International Symposium on Pheochromocytoma

The First International Symposium on Pheochromocytoma was held in Bethesda, Maryland, on October 20-23, 2005. Dr. Graeme Eisenhofer and Karel Pacak of the National Institutes of Health organized and co-chaired this meeting, which included 180 participants from all over the world. Many patients also attended this conference. The first two days were dedicated mainly to scientific presentations on several topics. Later there were less formal gatherings of patients and support group members. Participants at this symposium were informed of the latest scientific discoveries and advances in genetics, diagnosis, localization, and pathogenesis of pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas, and the management and treatment of patients with these tumors.

This symposium helped create a better awareness of the need for consensus evidence-based guidelines for effective biochemical diagnosis, localization, and treatment of benign, malignant and other forms of pheochromocytoma. It was also an excellent opportunity for the exchange of information between researchers, physicians, support organizations and patients.

The conference focused on several goals with respect to diagnosis of pheochromocytoma. There is a need to raise the awareness of the existence of the illness, the symptoms, and the availability of biochemical tests. In addition, there was discussion of the need for agreement on diagnostic criteria, especially where diagnostic testing in concerned.

Topics at the symposium included:

• Genetics
• Pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma syndromes
• Molecular pathways of tumorigenesis
• Genotype-phenotype relationships
• Clinical presentation and differential diagnosis
• Biochemical diagnosis
• Tumor localization
• Management of pheochromocytoma
• Model systems
• Diagnostic and prognostic markers of malignant pheochromocytoma
• Treatment of malignant pheochromocytoma
• Patient support

In conclusion, there were discussions about the future directions of research, how to improve funding and support for research on the tumor, and business of the Pheochromocytoma Research Support Organization (PRESSOR), including the venue and organizers for a subsequent international meeting.

The next conference is scheduled to be held in Cambridge, England in 2008.